Testimonials from Kanaka Club members

Exercise and Community

“Experts agree on two consistent pieces of advice to improve health span as we age—number one on every list exercise – the most important remedy for all aging maladies.  A second need, sometimes overlooked by the medical establishment, is community, i.e., having a network of friends.  I found both in Kanaka. I’m a lifelong racket sports enthusiast, and several knee surgeries sidelined me a number of years ago.  That prompted a search for an exercise alternative,  and I stumbled onto Kanaka. I did a trial paddle in beautiful San Diego Bay.  I was hooked.  It was a great workout in a scenic outdoor setting. And in the years following I was further rewarded by the wonderful aloha in the outrigger community.  I’ve made lifelong friends. And even traveled to Hawaii to race in the world’s largest outrigger race  – the Queen Liliuokalani.  Outrigger paddling is a complete package – conditioning, camaraderie, competition, and a gateway to the Hawaiian culture.”   

Bruce Griffiths

Board Vice President and original member

The Kanaka Cohort of Paddlers came into my life at a crossroads

I have been active my entire life, including competitive skiing, marathons, scuba diving, and competitive kayaking. In my late fifties, I discovered I had been operating on 2 of three cylinders. I had a congenital heart defect (bicuspid aortic valve), resulting in an Aortic Valve Replacement. An in-and-out procedure that should have lasted three days became two weeks. The second emergency surgery to keep me from going into total septic shock and dying was performed 48 hours after my open-heart surgery. I spent two weeks in the ICU with tubes going into me from everywhere. When I was finally released, I didn’t know how long it would take to recover. The big question was, “What would motivate me to get back into the shape I was in when I turned 65, before my surgery? That’s when I discovered Kanaka. It’s a great group of men and women going through similar life challenges. We all still have the warrior spirit in us to strive for greatness. Paddling three days a week with this special group of Kupunas every week has given me a new lease on the future with much fun and possibilities ahead.


Arthur Schwartz